Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Salade Nicoise with Creamy Tofu Dressing

What a novelty to have a Nicoise salad, thanks to my new discovery of the Tuna (Not!) Salad Mix. Ahead of time, you'll need to prepare this vegan tuna. Bring 1 and 1/2 cups of water to a boil; add 1 and 1/2 cups of the 'tuna', then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain off the excess liquid, then chill until ready to use.

Note: the mix is available online from

Since I was in a hurry tonight, I used the 'express' chill method, by freezing for 30 minutes, and stirring half way through, which I'm happy to report worked just fine.

While the 'tuna' chills, make the dressing. Combine the following in a blender: 1 and 1/2 teaspoons water, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. chopped thyme, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper, 2 ounces silken tofu, and 1 small chopped garlic clove. The original recipe also called for 1 anchovy fillet. For a similar salty taste, I like to substitute 1 sun-dried tomato. If you buy the kind that is not packed in oil, let the tomato soften in boiling water for about 15 minutes ahead of time.

Process until smooth, then transfer the dressing to a bowl and chill until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil; add 6 ounces small red potatoes (about 4 potatoes); reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, then cut in half and set aside.

Next, cook 6 ounces of trimmed fresh green beans in boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside. In the interest of saving water and time, I re-used the water from the potatoes (which I had previously removed from the pot with a slotted spoon).

Once the 'tuna' has chilled, heat a grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add the 'tuna' and cook for 7-8 minutes, until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

In the center of a large plate, combine the 'tuna', the green beans, and 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion. Arrange the potatoes around the 'tuna' mixture, along with 1 medium tomato (cut into 1/4-inch thick wedges). The original recipe also called for wedges of a hard-boiled egg, so to add a similar protein, I sliced 2 ounces of silken tofu into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Sprinkle the top of the salad with 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons capers and 12 picholine olives (small green French olives). You can pit and halve the olives if you like, but I preferred to leave them whole and discard the seeds as I came to them one by one - isn't that half the fun of eating fresh olives?

This recipe could make a generous dinner salad for 1 person of 840 calories. Or, divide into 3 portions of 280 calories each.

silken tofu $2.39
small red potatoes $4.99
green beans $0.52
red onion $1.79
tomato $1.16
flat-leaf parsley $1.69
picholine olives $6.37

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance